Wright: Fitness expectations versus fitness reality

Jackie Wright
The Fitness Trail

One of the initial questions we ask our clients is what their specific expectations are regarding their fitness program outcomes. We ask this question to determine if their expectations are realistic and those which we are able to meet or exceed within the time frame suggested. A primary reason for why there are many unrealistic expectations is the prevalence of and access to inaccurate, unsubstantiated information which is often aggressively promoted to encourage the consumer to buy the product, program, food or drug.

Therefore, our initial consultation revolves around listening to the client’s story and then agreeing upon realistic expectations based upon providing sound health and fitness research, principles and processes. In most cases, we are able to guide the client toward a fitness reality which satisfies their expectations once their body of fitness knowledge is expanded. This week, we will feature five methods to avoid developing unrealistic expectations and keeping it real throughout your fitness journey. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

Method #1

Avoid comparing yourself to anyone else and that includes family members, friends and celebrities. We are all unique from our head to our toes and consequently, it is counterproductive to assume that what is working for one person will necessarily work for another. And, it is not just the exercise program performed that is the determining factor alone. Consistency of performance, intensity of performance, how your DNA responds to consistency and intensity, what you are inputting nutritionally and how that food is processed and your structural integrity (i.e. axial and appendicular skeleton, soft/connective tissue health and inherent strength) will all contribute to your fitness reality. Therefore, get to know and understand your body, accept those elements that are unchangeable and then move forward making real changes to those aspects of your body that may be changed and improved.

Method #2

Have a complete functional movement screen and assessment performed by your fitness professional, establishing a baseline fitness level and then take note of what, within your exercise program, is working well to achieve your realistic goals/objectives and what might need to be modified. Modify and then be consistent with your exercise program performance to that end.

Method #3

Nothing in the human body is static. The body is dynamic, ever-changing and consequently, we must proceed accordingly with this understanding. Expect change, both positive and perhaps challenges along the way to prepare yourself for the inevitable. This will prevent you from building unrealistic expectations and addressing the areas of need immediately to avoid poor adherence and poor results.

Method #4

Caveat Emptor! This appears as a warning throughout the year in this column because consumers often look for the quick fix. Often a client falls prey to quick fix gimmicks when they have not adhered to the effective program protocols provided by the professional trainer and consequently are not seeing the desired results. Therefore, invest in legitimate, peer-reviewed and researched programs and then perform the program protocols consistently reaping the rewards.

Method #5

Remember that optimal fitness levels take time to achieve and a lifetime to maintain. No one Gbecomes fit overnight, no one keeps body weight managed overnight, so be patient and know that positive outcomes will occur given a realistic approach.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at, her email at and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.

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